What you need to know about the ‘vampire facial’

Sounds terrifying, but the results are anything but

Beauty Crew Beauty Writer / June 24 2019

Vampire facials. They sound utterly terrifying, and if you’ve seen the blood-splattered post-treatment faces of celebs like Kim Kardashian, we’re sure you’ll agree that it looks equally as frightening.

So, what’s the go? Why are people slathering blood on their faces? We hear you ask. Well, there’s a little more to it than that, but basically this type of treatment is a total all-rounder, and is known for its anti-ageing, skin brightening and complexion-smoothing benefits.

Want to know more? Here’s everything you need to know about the vampire facial.

What is a vampire facial?

While it’s commonly known as the ‘vampire facial’, ‘plasma facial’ or the double-whammy ‘plasma vampire facial’, the correct medical term for this type of procedure is actually Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) Treatment.

PRP is a treatment with seemingly endless areas for application, and has undoubtedly opened the doors for a wide range of cosmetic and wellness possibilities. It can be used to turn back the clock on ageing, for acne, hair loss, or it can even be used for injection therapy to treat sporting injuries. Pretty impressive, huh?

A PRP skin treatment uses your own blood to promote collagen and blood factors. PRP works by literally drawing on your own blood (hence the name ‘vampire’) and extracting platelets to use on the skin. “Platelets are the component of our blood that help to heal damaged tissue (skin) by producing new collagen and elastin and regenerating cells,” says cosmetic nurse Kelly George from Kelly George Aesthetics.

PRP is now commonly used topically along with microneedling to enhance penetration into the skin, but it can also be injected into the skin in the same way as dermal fillers (known as vampire facial injections).

The best part? A PRP treatment for the face can pretty much address just about any skin concern – from acne scars to ageing skin. “Vampire facials are one of the most versatile treatments we have on offer,” says George. “A series of three to four vampire facials will address multiple skin issues including breakouts and congestion, acne scarring, dull and lifeless skin, discolouration, sun damage, sagging skin, and fine lines and wrinkles. I suggest everyone over the age of 30 have at least one vampire facial treatment per year, and two a year for those over 40.” 

What does the procedure involve?

A PRP facial is usually performed in-clinic by a trained professional. In the first part of a microneedling vampire facial treatment, a topical numbing cream is applied to your entire face to ensure the procedure is as comfortable as possible.

Next up, it’s plasma time. George says, “We take a small amount of blood (usually from the patient’s arm, similar to a normal blood test). This blood is spun down in a centrifuge to separate the red blood cells from the plasma.” 

The plasma is then extracted to be used during the procedure. “Plasma is the yellowish component of the blood, which is rich in the platelets required for the treatment,” she says. “This process takes around 15 minutes, so by the time the blood has been spun, your face will feel pretty darn numb!” 

George says after your skin is fully cleansed, the serum (plasma) is applied to your face and you then receive a microneedling treatment over the top. “The microneedling device is then applied to the surface of the skin while we are ‘infusing’ the plasma into the tissue,” she says. “The tiny micro-needles essentially push the plasma into the layers of the skin.” 

Cue a Kim Kardashian-esque bloody face. Fun fact, the blood is actually the microneedling aspect of the procedure that causes your face to become inflamed or bloody (just Google search some before and after pictures or a post-vampire facial video reviews if you want to see the treatment in action).

“Depending on the patient’s individual requirements, we may also take the procedure one step further and inject the plasma directly into the skin around the eyes or mouth (areas of the face that tend to age more quickly). This helps to significantly thicken and tighten the skin in those areas.” 

For those who opt for a PRP injection for face, this is known as a ‘vampire facelift’ – a treatment that uses a combination of hyaluronic acid and gel dermal fillers for structure, and PRP overlay for enhancement of the skin. This results in a natural-looking restoration of facial volume and shape, without looking overdone. 

Vampire facial benefits

In terms of vampire facial results, PRP works to improve the tone, texture and luminosity of the skin, as well as reducing pore size, and improving the fine crepey skin on the under-eyes.

“The resurfacing effects will be visible by day seven,” says George. “However, new collagen continues to be produced for up to six weeks post-treatment.” 

“All skin types will enjoy improved tone and texture of the skin, increased hydration, a reduction in discolouration and redness, a reduction in the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and an improvement in skin laxity,” says George.

Are repeat treatments usually required?

“A series of three to four treatments will always give you best results,” says George. “The use of medical-grade skin care at home will prolong and maintain the results. Always make sure you get good aftercare advice – what you put on your skin for the first 72 hours post-treatment is important!”

Recovery and aftercare

Since topical numbing cream is applied prior to treatment, discomfort is significantly lessened, and the procedure shouldn’t feel very painful. In terms of post-care, most clinics will suggest using a gentle face wash (like Cetaphil Gentle Cleanser) and a hydrating moisturiser (nothing too thick though!) or gel. Downtime/recovery time ranges from one to three days and side effects usually include redness and flaking – so don’t schedule any events in your calendar that week! 

“The first day you will feel sunburnt – red, warm and tight. By day two the warmth has resolved and you are left with skin that is a light shade of pink. Around days three to four you might experience a little bit of flaking, but nothing serious,” says George. 

How much does a vampire facial cost?

As you might expect, a PRP injection cost is significant. The cost will vary depending on your location, but most clinics will price their PRP facial treatment anywhere between $400 and $700. 

If you’re looking for more tips to help turn back the clock, check out eight things you can do to slow down the signs of ageing

Have you had a vampire facial before? What was your experience? Let us know in the comment section below.

Main image credit: @kimkardashian

Erin Docherty is a Beauty Writer for BEAUTYcrew, Beauty Editor for Women's Health magazine and a Grooming Writer for Men's Health magazine. She has a keen interest in cosmeceutical skin care and is currently working on minimising her 9-step skin care routine – because ain’t nobody got time for that. When she’s not writing about the latest beauty news, or applying copious amounts of serum, you can find her spending all her money in Sephora.